“When I take time for myself, I feel guilty.”
How many of you can relate to this statement? A client of mine said this to me, and it made me realize how true that is for so many of us. I talked about the importance of self-care in a previous post, but hearing that made me think that it needed to be addressed again. Because, in reality, most women feel this way.
We, as women, want to DO IT ALL! We want to work outside of the home, we want to have and raise children (which includes homework, getting ready for bed, getting them ready in the morning, etc.), we want to cook healthy meals for our family, we want to have a clean home, we want to have clean laundry, we want to work out, we want to be the “perfect” wife…and we want to do it all without any help!! Whew – I’m tired just writing all that! So when you throw in this idea of self-care – you know, taking time out of your day to take care of YOURSELF – women are like, “What?! You want me to do what?!”
But think about it…if you are going, going, going all day, every day, and you have ZERO downtime for yourself, how long do you think you’ll be able to last before you hit the wall, or worse, have a big explosion of emotions (because we tend to hold those in, too!)? If we run ourselves into the ground, we can’t possibly take care of everything and everybody else. Right?
But this is counterintuitive for so many women. We think that we are being selfish if we put ourselves first, and then we feel guilty because something else might not get done. The laundry might not get done; the grocery shopping might not get done; the house may not get cleaned; the beds may not get made; we might not get our workouts in (*gasp*). But let’s really think about this…will taking 5 to 10 minutes a day to have a cup of coffee on your back deck really ruin the rest of your day? Will taking a nice, hot bath at the end of the day when the kids are in bed really set you back?
It’s so easy for me to say to someone, “You need to take more time for self-care.” But how does one actually go about implementing that? I think, for many people, self-care equates to a couple hours set aside just for yourself. When, in reality, self-care can be as little as 5 to 10 minutes just for yourself.
There are so many things one can do to get that much needed self-care – give yourself a pedicure, or better yet, go get a pedicure (yes, this takes a little longer than 5 to 10 minutes, but it’s so very much worth it!); meditate for 10 minutes (there are great apps that talk you through it…no thinking required!); drink a cup of coffee/tea on your back deck as you’re enjoying nature; take a hot bath; read a good book (not for school or work!!); watch a movie (without working through it); listen to music and dance around the living room; get a massage (believe me, this one does WONDERS for you…mind, body, and soul)!!
Self-care is anything that you *love* doing JUST FOR YOURSELF!! It’s time that you set aside for you to replenish your energy, take a breather, calm your mind, and then go back to your everyday life feeling refreshed. Because, let’s face it, we all could use these “breaks!” We give and we give and we give to our families, friends, co-workers, etc. But let’s not forget to give to OURSELVES! We are just as important as everyone else! And believe me when I say that everything else WILL get done! And if it doesn’t get done today, it will still be there tomorrow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should throw everything to the wayside and do nothing, but I am saying that not everything (unless there’s a deadline or a priority) needs to be done RIGHT THIS SECOND. And all of us can spare 5 to 10 minutes to ourselves…because in the long run, believe me, it will be beneficial not only to you, but to your significant other, your children, your friends and family, your co-workers…to everything.
And start small…schedule 5 minutes a day to just sit and be by yourself. Put away your phone, iPad, computer, your electronics…grab your coffee, tea, green juice, and just sit (outside preferably). Smell the fresh cut grass, hear the birds chirping, feel the sun on your skin, taste the yummy drink you’re enjoying. Just be…for 5 minutes. And notice how different you feel when you go back to your daily routine.
What are some of your go-to self-care practices? My latest one has been a hot Epsom salt bath at the end of a long day. It has helped me tremendously since I started doing it. There really is nothing compared to taking time out of your day to take care of yourself…I promise, you will see huge benefits when you start taking care of yourself first!
With love and wellness,